Meet the Chartered Manager: The next-gen manager
The first in our series where seven stand-out chartered managers tell dramatic tales of personal reinvention, and explain how they’re energising and professionalising their organisationsMatt Scott
The new style of entrepreneurial, digital workplaces present very distinct management challenges. However, even in these sometimes chaotic organisations there’s a place for structure and operational processes.
After stints in the digital consultancy firm FreshNetworks and data analytics and software company Bright North, Sarah Bradbury has plenty of experience of high-octane workplaces and people. She’s been close-up to developer teams pulling all-nighters to complete projects, and she’s negotiated flexi-working hours with talented and erratic millennials.
Managing in entrepreneurial environments – and managing the entrepreneurs themselves –requires a very particular approach.
“Entrepreneurs are a challenge to manage,” Bradbury says. “I’ve worked with some who have a lot of experience and some who are new to it, and don’t have much experience of being managed themselves. That presents challenges.
“The key thing is adapting to them, working out how they work and what their particular skills are, and being able to find other people to work alongside them that perhaps have skills that they lack.”
It is hard, but very rewarding. “It’s an exciting, agile way of working,” she says, “and that’s quite infectious. I think that’s why I’ve liked working in those environments.”
As the person charged with bringing structure and process, Bradbury has to be up to date with the latest managerial thinking.
“My job is to provide operations and finance support and direction for the businesses I work in, so it helps to have resources I can draw on to check my knowledge, improve it and develop it further.”
Like many Chartered Managers, Bradbury uses CMI resources to help with workplace problems and to design workshops she delivers to clients and colleagues. One tool she’s found useful is Management Direct, and particularly the mergers and acquisitions checklists that helped her to navigate the intricacies of a complex and delicate business deal.
“Those checklists are really practical and really helpful,” she says. “They just cut straight to the chase to give you a clear plan of action, which is great for saving time and energy.”
Bradbury is committed to continued learning and professional development: “I came into contact with CMI through my Open University MBA, when I was very keen to have something to support my ongoing learning. CMI just seemed ideal in helping me set objectives and continue my learning, and in providing access to a huge amount of information and resources.”
One of the skills Chartered Manager has taught Bradbury is the need for self-reflection, a key part of the accreditation process. This has helped her to be more creative in her approach to management.
“I have become more confident in my knowledge and skills, and my ability to find answers to things,” she says. “I am able to reflect and really interact with whatever problem I encounter and think about different ways of resolving it.
“If you have lots of knowledge at your fingertips, you can think about how to approach situations in a different or more creative way that you might not have thought about before.”
Hear Bradbury’s story in her own words here, where you can also find other inspirational stories from more of CMI’s Chartered Managers